Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

303
Banjo Lovers Online


What Can You Tell Me About This Rim and Mastertone Decal?

Want to hide these Google ads? Join the Players Union!
Jul 7, 2020 - 4:49:52 PM
30 posts since 3/22/2019

This is the rim on my "Gibson" banjo. Before I get into a bunch of words asking about identifying my banjo, I thought I'd upload some pics of the rim and Mastertone label in it.

What can you tell me about this rim and label? I can load more pics if necessary.

BTW - no serial numbers that I can find.

Thanks!

Edited by - leeave96 on 07/07/2020 16:54:09

Jul 7, 2020 - 4:52:39 PM

30 posts since 3/22/2019

2nd try on the pics...




 

Jul 7, 2020 - 4:59:26 PM

13122 posts since 10/30/2008

To me, the wood finish/color of the rim doesn't ring true. The label is one of the many repros. You didn't ask, but the underside of the flange doesn't look like Gibson.

What your finger is pointing at in the bottom of the rim is visible layers of the laminated rim. It's the rare old (or new) Gibson that you can't see the laminations at least a little bit. I don't think that's a significant point in evaluation a banjo, unless you see an open gap that you could slip a business card into, perhaps.

Jul 7, 2020 - 5:17:09 PM

beegee

USA

21766 posts since 7/6/2005

What size are the co-rod nuts and the j-hook nuts? Metric or SAE. This looks like either a Japanese Masterclone or parts banjo from aftermarket sources. The label is definitely fake and in the wrong location.
What does the rest of the banjo look like?

Jul 7, 2020 - 5:49:14 PM

30 posts since 3/22/2019

Thanks - I appreciate the info the fake Mastertone label and the rim. I have no idea if the hardware is metric, The inlay is Bella Voce which on a banjo neck like this, I suspect Saga or Stew-Mac. Help me remember, but didn’t SM sell inlay sets in the late 70’s and early 80’s that we’re copies of Gibson, including the Gibson script and Mastertone block? I’m thinking either the pegboard had Saga removed and Gibson added and the Mastertone block added to the fingerboard or this neck was a Stew-Mac Kit.

Where the banjo differs from a Saga Bella Voce is this one is a one piece flange vs the tube and plate arrangement of the Saga. This banjo also has a Stew-Mac tone ring. Apparently it was a no hole tone ring and someone drilled some original Gibson holes in it - LOL!

I bought the banjo in 1983 and have played it since.

I will try to upload a few more pics.

Thanks!

Jul 7, 2020 - 6:05:20 PM

30 posts since 3/22/2019

A few more pics...




 

Jul 7, 2020 - 7:06:59 PM
likes this
Players Union Member

RioStat

USA

5238 posts since 10/12/2009

Probably a great sounding banjo....remeber, StewMac was making parts for Gibson, back in the day.

Heres a couple photos of a genuine Gibson rim decal 1925 ball-bearing, TB-3,  decal on the left, reproduction decal, from the same source as yours (don'task me how I know !), on the right.

The "I"'s on "will" and "workmanship" should align perfectly, vertically, on a real Gibson rim label.




Jul 7, 2020 - 7:29:05 PM

30 posts since 3/22/2019

Thanks for the info on the decals. I seem to have read something in regards to the “I” ‘s lining up somewhere.

Yes - this banjo of mine IMHO is an excellent sounding banjo. I feel it has power and finesse too. It’s been the only banjo I’ve played since 1983 and I don’t see that changing anytime soon, but for years I wanted to get as much skinny on this banjo as possible. It’s been an interesting discussion.

No one has answered this question - perhaps you could. Did Stewart McDonald offer inlay kits with “Gibson” peghead scripts and the “Mastertone” blocks. It’s been so long since the late 70’s, I can’t remember and my catalogs have been long gone for years.

Thanks again!

Jul 7, 2020 - 7:46:45 PM
like this

roydsjr

USA

674 posts since 5/17/2007

I believe First Quality Music offered them at one time until Gibson asked them not to. I used to buy the Mastertone Blocks and the copy rim decals several years ago. I have a 1995 catalog that I bought from then and these items were in it.

Jul 7, 2020 - 7:54:27 PM
Players Union Member

RioStat

USA

5238 posts since 10/12/2009

I don't think StewMac offered kits with Gibson based inlay, but if I remember correctly, they offered the inlay for sale. So a StewMac kit could be turned into a "Mastertone" for a few extra $$.

I don't believe StewMac sold a Mastertone fretboard inlay, though.

Somewhere, i have about 5-6 years of StewMac catalogs from the late '70's - early '80's, iI'll try and find them......

Edited by - RioStat on 07/07/2020 19:56:51

Jul 7, 2020 - 8:00:13 PM
Players Union Member

RioStat

USA

5238 posts since 10/12/2009

quote:
Originally posted by roydsjr

I believe First Quality Music offered them at one time until Gibson asked them not to. I used to buy the Mastertone Blocks and the copy rim decals several years ago. I have a 1995 catalog that I bought from then and these items were in it.


Yes, FQM was the source for the "good" repro rim labels and Mastertone inlay blocks.

Jul 8, 2020 - 4:00:38 AM
likes this

Brett

USA

2221 posts since 11/29/2005

Start putting wrenches on it and you’ll immediately learn of the hardware is metric or standard. That is fastest way to tell, metric fasteners.

Jul 8, 2020 - 4:12:20 AM

beegee

USA

21766 posts since 7/6/2005

Stew-Mac sold complete mastertone copy kits. I don't recall if they included a Gibson logo and Mastertone decal, but I think probably not. There was a college professor here who built one and he really messed it up. He's dead now but I always wondered what happened to that banjo.

Jul 8, 2020 - 7:44:16 AM
like this

FXHERE

USA

1796 posts since 9/6/2003

Since you have played it for almost 40 years, then I assume you like the sound of it. That being said then it really does not matter about the name or label, or the pearl on the fingerboard. None of that makes any noise. Just enjoy it.

Jul 8, 2020 - 5:17:55 PM
like this

30 posts since 3/22/2019

Thanks again everyone for your replies. Yes - I have been playing this banjo for a long time and plan on continuing to do so. IMHO - it's a pretty good banjo for what I am capable of doing.

Hopefully this video will upload. It is a video we made a few days ago of me playing my banjo and the tune is Redwing. Go easy on me as I am a hack banjo player, but I do have one of those participant ribbons from the Galax Fiddlers Convention...

The strings on the banjo are probably 2 years old or older. Is it set-up correctly - probably not. Some say I need to clean-up the banjo, but I'm kind of superstitious about such things - that's my excuse... There is a buzzing 5th string I need to give attention. It has the dreaded 5th string capo, but prior to that (when I bought the banjo in 1983) it had wood screws (I kid you not) vs rail road spikes.

Thanks again for everyone's replies and most helpful info - I've learned a lot about Gibson banjos over the past several weeks!


Edited by - leeave96 on 07/08/2020 17:18:38

Jul 9, 2020 - 5:32 AM

73 posts since 7/14/2010

quote:
Originally posted by leeave96

Thanks again everyone for your replies. Yes - I have been playing this banjo for a long time and plan on continuing to do so. IMHO - it's a pretty good banjo for what I am capable of doing.

Hopefully this video will upload. It is a video we made a few days ago of me playing my banjo and the tune is Redwing. Go easy on me as I am a hack banjo player, but I do have one of those participant ribbons from the Galax Fiddlers Convention...

The strings on the banjo are probably 2 years old or older. Is it set-up correctly - probably not. Some say I need to clean-up the banjo, but I'm kind of superstitious about such things - that's my excuse... There is a buzzing 5th string I need to give attention. It has the dreaded 5th string capo, but prior to that (when I bought the banjo in 1983) it had wood screws (I kid you not) vs rail road spikes.

Thanks again for everyone's replies and most helpful info - I've learned a lot about Gibson banjos over the past several weeks!


I think you did a great job on that tune. You certainly are not a hack by any stretch. The melody is there and played VERY tastefully. You have NOTHING in there that doesn't belong in that tune and your tone is very pretty. WELL DONE in my opinion!

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.28125